David French: Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib Partnered with Vicious Anti-Semites to Plan Their Trip to Israel
This should be a national scandal.
To the extent that I care at all about Israel blocking entry to two U.S. congresswomen who partner with anti-Semites who seek its destruction, I agree with critics who argue that Bibi Netanyahu should not appear to bow to Donald Trump’s tweeted demands and that blocking Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Israel handed them a short-term propaganda victory. But that’s not the most important part of the story.
The most important element of the story is the fact that two American congresswomen shunned a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel to go on an independent trip to Israel sponsored by vicious anti-Semites. Another important element of the story is that, as of today, the mainstream media have whitewashed Omar and Tlaib’s vile associations.
Writing yesterday, the Washington Post said that “Omar and Tlaib’s trip to Jerusalem and the West Bank was planned by Miftah, a nonprofit organization headed by Palestinian lawmaker and longtime peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi.” The New York Times described it as an organization “headed by a longtime Palestinian lawmaker.” In its editorial, the New York Times editorial board identified it as a group “that promotes ‘global awareness and knowledge of Palestinian realities.’”
This is a whitewash. Thanks to a Twitter thread from the Washington Examiner’s Seth Mandel — who pointed to multiple additional sources — I started looking at the articles and views published on the Miftah website, and it was like peeling an onion of evil. There was layer upon layer of vile anti-Semitism.
First, the group actually published blood libel, posting an article that accused “the Jews [of using] the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.” When pro-Israel bloggers condemned the article, Miftah first claimed that the attacks against the piece were part of a “smear campaign” and minimized the reference to blood libel as merely “briefly addressed.”
It was just a light sprinkling of blood libel. Move along, nothing to see here.
And without question, we all owe an immense debt of gratitude to @elderofziyon, who did the work from which the rest of our efforts grew. Yashar koach, chazak u’baruch, Elder. A gentleman and a scholar who also happens to be a great Shabbos host.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) August 16, 2019
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) August 16, 2019
Again and again, in The Management of Savagery, Blumenthal insists that Assad’s enemies in Syria are at least as bad as he is; that those enemies have been funded and abetted by the West; that other tyrants in the region are, likewise, no better than Assad; and that Assad and his circle have long been the targets of “armed Sunni Islamist groups,” presumably because Assad does not share their backward theocratic views. It is interesting to observe that whereas Blumenthal, prior to his Moscow trip, almost invariably stood up for Islamic theocracies, he now sees things the other way around and is willing to speak critically about “Islamists.” He is willing to do this, that is, so long as he can cast them as the tools or allies of the U.S., or the West generally, against Assad and Putin. The one constant in his view of these matters is that he has always been more critical of the U.S. and other Western liberal democracies than of any tyrannical Middle Eastern regime, whether theocratic or secular.
More than any other American writer who has reached his level of notoriety, Blumenthal has proven consistently to be too hard-left even for some of the banner names of the hard left. “Pro-Assad, pro-Maduro, pro-Putin—literally nothing redeemable about this fellow and his moronic second-campism,” tweeted the British writer James Bloodworth, an old Trotskyite and longtime Guardian contributor, on June 9. The good news is that more and more respectable members of the journalistic profession have woken up to the fact that Blumenthal’s work is simply not to be trusted—that he is not a legitimate reporter but a propagandist. The bad news is that he is still able to get his books published and still has readers who, heaven help them, take his writings seriously.
Perhaps even more striking to contemplate are the emails released by WikiLeaks in which Sidney Blumenthal proudly shared his son’s writings with Hillary Clinton, who responded by praising them and even passing some of them around to her State Department colleagues. This included the epilogue to his Israel-bashing Gomorrah. “I loved the epilogue but it stopped abruptly and I can’t pull up the rest so I’m anxiously awaiting for the rest,” Hillary Clinton wrote to Sidney. “Pls congratulate Max for another impressive piece. He’s so good.”
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth is a Max Blumenthal!
Campus Lies About Israel
Review of ‘Israel Denial’ By Cary Nelson
Anti-Zionism is thus anti-Semitism’s moral salvation, its perfect disguise, its route to legitimation,” writes Cary Nelson in Israel Denial, a book about the faculty campaign against the Jewish state. In a year that’s been rife with an old hatred rearing its ugly head in new and myriad ways, it’s profoundly refreshing to see an academic so clear-headed about the overlapping nature of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. The past decade has seen an increasing number of Jews publicly expressing their internal conflicts over Israel, with a growing number of progressive Jews identifying as anti-Zionist, and using their own membership in the community to suggest that hatred toward Jews and hatred toward the Jewish state are in no way linked.
This is a lie. Nelson, a professor emeritus of English and Jewish culture and society at the University of Illinois, explains how. “Anti-Semitism,” he notes, “enables and underwrites castigation of Israel whenever it is based on practices typical of other countries, not different from them.” Thus when Israel acts in an entirely unremarkable fashion, Jew-hatred inspires critics to react as if the Jewish state has committed unspeakable horrors.
What’s noteworthy about Nelson’s full-throated defense of Israel is that he is decidedly not on a mission to represent the country as perennially innocent. Rather, Israel Denial serves up all the nuance that dovish groups like J Street promise but never quite deliver. Early on in the book, Nelson makes quite clear how anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism intersect with each other. But he doesn’t shrink from informing the reader that anti-Semitism is “certainly not the only motivation fueling opposition to Israel.” He states that “Israel discriminates against segments of those under its control,” and that “Israel’s human rights record in areas over which it exercises control is imperfect.” But his broader point is that no country could ever live up to the impossible standards of progressive perfection expected of Israel.
This is hardly the organization’s only problem with honesty. The group is not trying to find solutions to the border crisis — but to eliminate America’s borders altogether, with obstruction of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement a necessary first step. “The goal is to actually make it impossible for ICE … to do business as usual,” says the organization’s online “toolkit.” “Find the chokepoint and shut it down.” The group apparently has no qualms with the death toll and frequent assaults associated with the journey from South America, or with denying aid to untold millions left behind in less-developed countries. They only want America’s resources exhausted providing free housing, medical care and education to those hardy (and lucky) enough to survive the journey.
Yet pro-Israel bloggers discovered that even this is not the true agenda of the organization. The group’s second Twitter follower was the notoriously anti-Israel group IfNotNow. Time and again, those speaking with the media or arrested at organization events turn out to be IfNotNow local and national leaders. “The real goal of ‘Never Again Action,’” says the popular “Elder of Ziyon,” “isn’t to help immigrants. It is to recruit Jews to hate Israel.”
The growth of “Never Again Action” has been fueled by a host of ultra-progressive, anti-Israel “blue tick” Twitter users previously associated with IfNotNow — including Ocasio-Cortez herself, who aggressively promoted and even fundraised for the then-unknown “Never Again Action.” This is the same politician who concurred with a radio host’s description of Jews like Trump policy advisor Stephen Miller as “white supremacists,” and Israel’s interaction with “Palestine” as “very, very criminal” and “very, very unjust.”
All of this is, frankly, sickening. A recent “Never Again Action” demonstration in Washington occurred on the Ninth of Av, a day commemorating numerous tragedies associated with this time of year on the Jewish calendar. The protest attracted numerous participants who frankly admitted that they had never previously observed this mournful day, yet did then — as if Trump immigration policies were a more significant Jewish calamity than historical events including the destruction of two Holy Temples, the massacre of Jews seeking liberty at Beitar, and the ethnic cleansing of Jews from England, Spain and the Holy Land itself. The idea that this sort of thinking is somehow “Jewish” is risible.
While it is little surprise that Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan came in at the bottom of the UN’s annual ranking of the world’s happiest countries, more surprising to anyone getting information from the Western press or the United Nations itself is the fact that “the Palestinian territories”—i.e., the Gaza Strip and the Arab residents of the West Bank—ranked 110th out of 156. And this from a report that omits nearly 30 UN member states, among them North Korea, that would most likely fall toward the bottom of the list. Hillel Frisch comments:
[T]here appears to be more relative happiness among the [Palestinian] population than in an assortment of Middle Eastern states, some of which are among the most vociferous in their condemnation of Israel’s “occupation” of the Palestinians. Energy-rich Iran, for example, ranks seven slots lower on the happiness index than the Palestinian Territories. Even less happiness prevails in Egypt, whose regime frequently initiates UN condemnations of Israel’s “occupation.” Egypt is close to the bottom of the list at 138, significantly lower than the Palestinians. . . .
It is the comparison with Jordan, [however], that occasions the greatest surprise. If Israel’s “occupation” is so onerous, how come the happiness rate in Jordan is only slightly higher than that of the Palestinians? . . . Jordan, with a ranking of 101, is only nine slots higher than the Palestinian Territories. [Note] that the ranking aggregates Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza [and that] the former has higher income levels than are found in the latter. Were the ranking to differentiate between the two, Palestinians living in the West Bank could plausibly generate a score at least equal to that of Jordan, where there is no “Israeli occupation.”
The real tragedy the index exposes is that of Tunisia, not the Palestinians. Tunisia is the only country from the so-called “Arab Spring” to have in any way met the expectations of those that gave the uprisings that name. Since the ouster of the old regime in December 2010, Tunisia has successfully changed its constitution, held three free elections, and . . . is the only country in the Arab world to be designated as “free” by Freedom House, a think tank that ranks democratic and human rights. Nevertheless, despite these achievements, Tunisia ranks lower in happiness than the Palestinians, with a ranking of 125.
Some 120 bereaved families from the Choosing Life forum have sent a letter to HBO to protest its series about the kidnapping and murder of Jewish teenagers Gil-ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Fraenkel by Palestinian terrorists and the brutal murder of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir by a Jewish gang.
The bereaved families claim that the series, titled “Our Boys,” which premiered on Monday, equates Jewish terrorism with Palestinian terrorism and have demanded HBO make clear that Palestinian terrorism is far more prevalent than Jewish terrorism.
In their letter, the families write, “The kidnapping and the murder of the three youths is one of the many instances in which Jews have been murdered. The murderers receive … encouragement and are treated like heroes. In contrast, [Muhammad Abu] Khdeir’s murder was met with shock and condemnation by the vast majority of the Israeli public. Dozens of Jews are murdered as a result of the ongoing incitement by the Palestinian Authority every year. The Arab street does not condemn the murder of Jews and even supports and encourages it.”
Merav Hajaj, whose daughter Shir was murdered in a car-ramming attack in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in 2017, said, “After our daughter Shir, along with three other [IDF] officers, was murdered by terrorists, they handed out candied and baklava and celebrated their murder in Palestinian neighborhoods. … These voices of jubilation return in every instance where people are murdered, their only sin being that they are Jews.”
Hen Mazzig: We need a Jewish reorientation towards the East
In 1951, around the same time my father’s parents arrived in Israel from North Africa, my mother’s parents came to Israel from Baghdad, Iraq. They were also forced out of their country. They had been part of an ancient Jewish community that thrived in Iraq from Babylonian times and before.
When they arrived in Israel, their stories were erased, partly by the attempt to create a cohesive Israeli identity. They felt as if their suffering was worthless in comparison to the atrocities committed against the Jews of Europe. While Jews had long been oppressed in the Arab-Islamic world, upon the founding of the State of Israel their status quickly changed from tolerated minority to hated enemy.
A whopping 850,000 Middle Eastern and North African Jews were expelled from Arab-Islamic states in the early 1950s just for being Jewish. In Israel they didn’t feel comfortable either.
Not only did they speak Arabic, the language of Israel’s enemies, but their cultures, costumes and identities were highly similar to those in the countries attempting to destroy the newly reborn Jewish state.
In the midst of this massive pressure from both sides of their identities, they largely decided to hide their past, look to the future and do everything possible to assimilate into the newly emerging Israeli community.
The fate of Jews living in North Africa under Nazi occupation will be a mandatory chapter in the history matriculation exam in Israeli schools starting in the next school year. In addition, the subject of European Jewry during the Holocaust will also be reinstated.
The move comes four years after the subject of the Holocaust has been removed from the school curriculum. The removal was part of a proposal by former Education Minister Shai Piron, which was later rectified by another former Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
Piron’s proposal included teachers being allowed to assign the subject of the Holocaust as a research project but not teaching it as part of a mandatory program.
The move drew harsh public criticism from academics and history teachers who have claimed that excluding the Holocaust – perhaps the most important subject in the nation’s history – from the curriculum sends a negative message about the genocide.
After many protests on the issue, Bennett has decided to reintroduce the Holocaust as the mandatory subject shorty before he was fired from his position by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In addition to the reintroduction of the previously studied chapters, the students will now also be able to learn more about the Holocaust of North African Jewry as part of the mandatory program.
In an August 1, 2019 article in the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily, Saudi journalist Mishal Al-Sudairy considered why fundamentalist Arabs and Muslims accuse Western countries of racism even though they are home to millions of Arabs and Muslims who enjoy full human rights and even hold high-level positions such as government minister and mayor. While he agreed that the West was involved in wars and had committed serious crimes, he added that it had mended its ways and continues to lead humanity on the road to progress, democracy, and human rights. He concluded by quoting an Iraqi author who had once hinted that Arabs who choose a religious state for themselves but themselves prefer to live in the secular West are hypocritical.
The following are translated excerpts from Al-Sudairy’s article:
“… I hope that no one will think that this article of mine is simply mockery, or, heaven forfend, an attack [on the Arab world]. But I would like to state things clearly. The West, whether we like it or not, continues to lead the course of humanity toward progress, after discarding the constraints of superstition, from the Renaissance to this day. It’s true that it was involved in horrifying and serious wars, but it quickly mended its ways, using democracy and human rights to help it do so.
“I was compelled to write [this article] today after hearing by chance from a fundamentalist [Muslim] who was pouring out his rage at the ‘colonialist’ Western countries. [He claimed] that they are scheming against the Arab and Muslim countries with the aim of preventing them from advancing. This, he said, is because – pay attention – they ‘fear them’! He cited Britain as an example, and stressed its racism, [adding]… that it is the ‘source of all disasters,’ according to him.
“I was surprised [by his sentiment], and wondered how he could accuse [Britain] of racism while millions of Arabs and Muslims live there lawfully, it has thousands of mosques, and numerous women in hijab and even niqab are out in its streets – and the English allow them to do this…
“He may not be aware that the current British prime minister [Boris Johnson] is of Muslim-Turkish origin, and that in an interview… with the Egyptian MBC TV he spoke about his family’s historic roots in Egypt, where his grandfather worked as a cotton grower in the [Nile] Delta.
MEMRI: Canadian Imam Shaban Sherif Mady – Whose Statements Were Published By MEMRI And Who Was Banned From Preaching In Edmonton For Antisemitism – In Morsi Eulogy: Egyptian President Al-Sisi Is A ‘Dwarf’ And A ‘Zionist Collaborator’ Whom Allah Will Punish
In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel on June 19, 2019, Imam Shaban Sherif Mady, of Edmonton, Canada called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi a “hooligan” Zionist collaborator planted in Egypt in order to corrupt and destroy it. He praised former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi for his support of the Syrian revolt against Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, his support of Gaza, and his desire to domestically produce weapons, food, and medicine. He went on to say that Allah will not allow President Al-Sisi to go unpunished, adding that somebody will take vengeance against Al-Sisi for the blood of the martyrs.
Addressing the leaders of most other Muslim countries, whom he also accused of being Zionist collaborators, Imam Sherif Mady said: “Tomorrow is just around the corner, and the fire that you ignited in the homes of the Muslims [will] change its course and burn you.” He added that an Islamic state will soon be established, because Allah promised that this would happen. He has also said that Jerusalem would “only be regained through blood” and that a Caliphate would conquer Rome (see MEMRI TV Clips No. 5462 and No. 5342). Recently, he was banned from preaching at the Edmonton Community Centre.
Imam Sherif Mady is an alumnus of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University.
“You Despicable Man, You Collaborator, You Shall Not Escape Your Punishment In This World Before The Next”
Imam Shaban Sherif Mady: “These people will not be forgotten and nobody will mention them. From the great Pharaoh of Egypt to the [current] dwarf Pharaoh of Egypt, this Zionist-collaborating priest [President Al-Sisi], who was planted in Egypt in order to destroy it… He brought destruction in politics, in the economy, and in society. You cannot find anything [good] anywhere [in Egypt]. He only came to spread corruption in the land, and not to spread good. And [Morsi] was the opposite… Morsi said: ‘We respond to your call, oh Syria.’ This collaborating dwarf [Al-Sisi] said: ‘We will stand with Bashar.’ Morsi said: ‘We will never leave Gaza alone.’ This collaborated [Al-Sisi] said: ‘We will fight Gaza by means of food, drink, and weapons, and we will place it under an even harsher siege than the Zionist enemies’ siege.’ Morsi said: ‘I will protect the girls. Your fathers are men that do not accept injustice.’ But then came this dwarf and put women in prisons. He violated their honor and he jailed them, and now it has even gotten to the point of death sentences against women. Morsi said: ‘Let our nation rise with its weapons. Let us produce our own weapons, medicine, and food.’ But this collaborator came to import everything and turn Egypt into a toy. As Hazem Abu Ismail – may Allah release him from prison – said: ‘Egypt will turn into the world’s biggest joke.’ And now we see it. And who is doing it? This despicable man, this hooligan, this Zionist collaborator.
The UK Labour Party expelled Holocaust denier Chris Crookes from the international sect of the party for members living abroad on Tuesday after a year and a half of suspension.
Crookes suggested that inmates at Auschwitz could go swimming and raise complaints to the commandant, according to the Jewish Chronicle. He wrote an article in 2012 titled, “The Human Face of Holocaust Revisionism,” where he mentioned the pool concept and claimed that no infants died in Auschwitz.
There, he claimed that the commander of the camp, Rudolf Hoss, “had a standing order that any inmate could approach him personally to register a complaint about other inmates… or even guards.”
Crookes further called the Holocaust a “mythology,” presenting it as a cultural tale that is not to be questioned and that “demonizes the Germans unfairly.”
The Labour Party has had an ongoing investigation for months with the goal of looking into and ending the roots of antisemitism within the party. Its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been affiliated in the past with antisemitic and anti-Israel people and groups, and even laid a wreath for the murderer of the Israeli Olympic Team of 1972.
The party has been trying to quiet the complaints of antisemitism, however. They even opened a website in recent months about combatting antisemitism.
MP Chris Williamson, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, is suing the Labour Party over their decision to re-implement his suspension from the party over accusations of antisemitism, it was reported in The Guardian.
The MP from Derby North is taking action against the Labour party, which will most definitely defend its decision, which will be decided in court.
Williamson confirmed on Wednesday that legal papers had been passed on to the party’s general-secretary Jennie Formby and have also already been sent to court.
Williamson, who was called a “Jew-baiter” due to his involvement and statements in the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis, is suing the party with the hope that he will be re-admitted.
In February, he was suspended from the party for claiming that it has been “too apologetic” over Jew-hatred. He was allowed back in June only to be resuspended two days later after harsh criticism from the Jewish community and Labour MPs.
In February, he said in Sheffield, regarding accusations of antisemitism within the party: “I’ve got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible… because, in my opinion, we’ve backed off far too much, we’ve given too much ground: We’ve been too apologetic.”
In 2017, a group of real-estate developers bought a plot of land in the town of Chester, in New York’s Hudson Valley, that had been designated for a new housing development. Since then, the town’s residents and officials have fought to stop the houses from being built, stating quite bluntly that they fear it will become a ḥasidic enclave—a concern based solely on the fact that some of the developers are themselves Ḥasidim. Sharon Otterman writes:
Town officials have repeatedly placed obstacles in the developers’ path: restrictions on the size of the houses they can build, delays on issuing building permits, and a request to relocate the main road by ten feet. . . . Angry residents at [a town] meeting talked of how school taxes could rise, and public resources could be stretched in the town. . . . They spoke of fears that the development would one day resemble Kiryas Joel, a ḥasidic village about nine miles away that is overcrowded and has ranked among the poorest communities in the nation.
The developers . . . cite these statements and others in a federal lawsuit that accuses the town, Orange County, and individual local officials of discrimination. . . . The Orange County executive, Steven M. Neuhaus, a Chester resident and its former town supervisor, suggested delay tactics, including retesting the water and denying sewer permitting, at a meeting a month earlier. . . .
“If you show up to a public hearing, you can hear what the voters are saying, which is ‘keep the ḥasidic [sic] out,’” said John Petroccione, the civil engineer who designed the project 25 years ago, and is working with the developers to complete it. . . .
“[N]obody on the board, . . . nobody who works in the town, . . . nobody wants this development to go through,” Alexander Jamieson, the former town supervisor of Chester, said at a public meeting in May 2018. . . . Jamieson, who resigned as town supervisor last September after pleading guilty to collecting unemployment while working in that role, also stood by his comments. “It’s not anti-Semitic to say it’s going to be a ḥasidic development,” he said in an interview near the site. “I’m just telling the truth.”
You can tell a lot about a news outlet by what it chooses to cover — and even more by what it chooses to ignore. The Washington Post’s reporting on Israel is a case in point.
Take, for example, the murder of Dvir Sorek. The 18-year-old Israeli yeshiva student was found stabbed to death on August 8, outside of the community of Migal Oz. Sorek’s murder — and the subsequent manhunt and arrest of two Palestinian suspects, one of them a Hamas activist — attracted widespread coverage from major US news outlets, including The New York Times.
The Washington Post’s Jerusalem bureau, however, declined to file any reports on the terrorist attack, much less highlight the footage of Palestinians celebrating the murder by launching fireworks during Sorek’s funeral. Instead, the newspaper contented itself with reprinting Associated Press (AP) briefs on the murder, the majority of which appeared only online.
As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) highlighted recently, The Post has a habit of under-reporting terrorist attacks and minimizing the antisemitic rhetoric and actions of Palestinian leadership.
Indeed, when The Jerusalem Post reported on July 11, 2019, that the PA was doubling the monthly payments to the terrorist responsible for masterminding the murders of three Israeli teenagers, The Washington Post was nowhere to be found.
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) August 15, 2019
An asset management firm in Russia removed a billboard featuring a depiction of a haredi Jew extending one hand and the words: “Goodbye rent!”
In St. Petersburg, the boards installed earlier this month by the Novoselye firm, which offers mortgage plans and housing packages, had prompted allegations of antisemitism.
“Definitely anti-Semitic: An exploitation of the theme that all Jews are usurers,” one critic of the billboard, Natalya Zonova, wrote on the page of the Choral Synagogue Jewish community of St. Petersburg through V Kontakte, the Russian version of Facebook. That community also called for the billboard’s removal.
Amid criticism, Novoselye agreed to remove the billboards if a majority of respondents to a poll it published on V Kontakte voted for its removal. Out of 967 voters, only 46 percent did so. Still, the firm agreed to have the billboard removed so as not offend people who found it anti-Semitic.
Israeli tech firm Flytrex, which is using drones to deliver sushi, burgers and beer to hungry Icelanders, will start providing on-demand, unmanned food delivery services via commercial drones for some residents in Holly Springs, North Carolina.
The firm, together with drone services company Causey Aviation Unmanned, Inc., got the nod from the US Federal Aviation Administration to begin food deliveries in a geographically limited pilot project.
The approval came after Flytrex’s tech was found to meet standards set by the FAA. This allows Flytrex and Causey join the few companies that are authorized to operate in a suburban area, Flytrex said in a statement.
“We continually strive to reach new heights when it comes to advancing commercial drone use around the world,” said Yariv Bash, CEO and co-founder of Flytrex. “That is why we are thrilled to have been chosen to work so closely with the FAA to help this pilot take off. This is just the beginning as we expand the possibilities of sky-bound delivery.”
The documentary film “Nobody Wants Us” tells the story of the 317 people aboard the SS Quanza. On August 9, 1940, it sailed from Lisbon, Portugal, to New York carrying more than 300 passengers, most of whom were Jewish. 196 passengers disembarked. However, as per orders from the U.S. State Department, the remaining 121 people weren’t allowed off. The ship sailed on to Veracruz, Mexico, where only 35 people were allowed off. Authorities forced the remaining 86, mostly Belgian Jews, to stay on board. The passengers were then told they’d be sailing back to Europe.
On its return voyage the ship stopped for fuel in Hampton Roads, Virginia. American Jewish leaders rushed to press the refugees’ case. It was brought to the attention of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who appealed to her husband. She insisted that the men, women and children aboard the Quanza were “future patriotic Americans” and not potential Nazi spies or Communist sympathizers.
“When the SS St. Louis was sent back [in 1939], [Eleanor Roosevelt] vowed it will never happen again….She knew their lives were at stake,” said Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt, a three-volume biography. On September 11, the refugees were allowed entry.
The president’s intervention so outraged assistant secretary of state Breckinridge Long that he intensified efforts to halt immigration. By mid-1941 virtually no wartime refugees were allowed into the U.S.
In March 1941, Ilse Ganz Koppel, 22, a Swedish Jewish nurse, boarded a train in Stockholm with 60 Jewish refugee children and three other adult chaperones and set out for Mandatory Palestine. Now 100 and living in Jerusalem, she shared her account of the rescue mission that took 16 days and covered 3,500 miles. The children had arrived in Stockholm through Copenhagen from Germany, Poland, Austria and Czechoslovakia, sent by parents desperately hoping they would reach safety.
Their route took them to northern Sweden, then to Helsinki and Leningrad, and then southward to Odessa. They crossed the Black Sea by boat, stopping in a Bulgarian port before reaching Istanbul. They then took a train through Syria to Beirut in Lebanon, where cars were waiting to take them to kibbutzim in Palestine.
Just before the trip, Ganz Koppel married Hans Schuman, one of the adults accompanying the youngsters. She did not know him before the fake marriage, but needed to share his resident status in Mandatory Palestine in order to legally travel there. She lost contact with Schuman after the trip ended.
The children jostle in a ragged line in the central Israeli town of Petah Tikva, as they wait for a counselor to twirl strands of sugar around a paper cone for the beloved “sa’arot savta,” or cotton candy in English. In the nearby air-conditioned gymnasium, another group prepares to climb into large plastic bubbles and roll around.
Outside, a catering company is barbequing giant ribs of asado that fill the air with mouthwatering smells awaiting the campers who have gone to a water park for the day.
It looks like any other summer camp in Israel, albeit a bit more upscale than most. But this is Camp Koby, and every child here has lost a first-degree relative to terror, illness, or an accident.
“Everywhere else, I felt people see me only as a headline, as a ‘bereaved brother,’” says Noam Armoni, whose brother was killed in an army training accident last year. “Here I’m just a regular kid and that makes me feel more normal.”
He says he had some hesitations about coming to the eight-day overnight camp, but “people treat each other as family here, not as strangers.”
Camp Koby is really four separate camps that meet for eight days each in a youth village on the edge of Petah Tikva. There is one camp for religious girls, one for religious boys, one co-ed religious camp and one co-ed secular camp. In all, 400 kids will attend camp this year. It is completely free for the campers, and the $250,000 budget is covered by the Koby Mandell foundation.
Koby Mandell was the 13-year-old boy from the Jewish settlement of Tekoa who was murdered in a cave along with a friend, Yosef Ishran, by Palestinian terrorists in 2001. Soon afterward, his parents Seth and Sherri Mandell established the Koby Mandell Foundation to help other families who have been affected by terror. In recent years they have expanded their work to include families affected by other types of loss.
— Embassy of Israel (@IsraelinUSA) August 15, 2019
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